Beating the Mind at Its Own Game

1953

I’m sitting here. Angry. Frustrated. Hating the fact that I got hurt (only drawback of police life HA!) and can’t roll. I was running up to a suspect that my partner had at gunpoint. I turned and just like that, my foot got caught and irreparable damage was made to my meniscus. So, I can sit here and be upset or I can focus on my goals.

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What keeps you motivated when you are hurt, for whatever reason, to return to the mats? Is it a medal? Is it peace mind? Is it your life being on the line? It can be crushing to your spirit when an injury occurs during a time when you are growing and evolving in your jiu-jitsu. Or for me, when your personal life is in turmoil and you NEED the mats to release stress.

One of my most important goals is to be able to run and pick up my kids. Not only do I want to be back on the street on patrol, but on the mats where I feel at home.

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I know there are those dark days, that you feel the light will never shine again. On those days when you feel that you can’t even move to get that one foot out of bed, think of how far you’ve come. You remember when you were at your lowest? When you thought nobody cared. When you didn’t think that you would survive? But look, here you are. Because if you can survive one night with the darkest thoughts in your head, the most painful feelings, the anger, the frustration, the desire to give up, then you already won. You fought one more day.

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Fight for everyone that loves you. Nobody said you have to do it alone. But when you do, hang on for a moment longer until we can get to you. Never give up on yourself. Never stop fighting. Your mission is not over. My worst time recently was having two police officer friends pass away. Both in the line of duty. I couldn’t even be in uniform to show my proper respect. I cried. I yelled. I was so pissed off that I couldn’t be there for my brothers and their families. But I KNOW they wouldn’t want me to just ******* do nothing.

One of the silliest things I do to push myself is wear the shirts of the people that inspire me. They may not know they do. When I go to physical therapy for my knee and slowly also my soul, I wear my We Defy™ Foundation shirt. It reminds me of great warriors like Joey Bozik who continues to fight for veterans regardless of his own physics battles. I wear Alan Shebaro’s shirt because of his mantra, “Earned. Never given.” That alone makes me push myself during physical therapy. I don’t want anything ever given to me and so far I’ve earned all I have.

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Then, there is Jared Weiner’s TAC Team shirt. It has rifles with a black belt. That reminds me of my love for policing and how jiu-jitsu has been used on the street. I miss helping the citizens, catching the bad guys, and that feeling of having made a difference. And on days when that foot was hard to get out of bed, I wear my Mission 22 gear to remind me we must all help each other survive. I think if I have helped one person feel alive, then my pain has been worth it.

If the burden is too much and you need help carrying it, organizations like Mission 22 and the We Defy™ Foundation are here for you.

As am I.

Make every day count.

Believe in yourself.

See you on the mats!

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